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House of Commons
Session 1997-98
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House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
Monday 29th June 1998

The House met at half-past Two o'clock.
PRAYERS.
1Message from the Lords,--A Message was brought from the Lords, as follows:
 
        The Lords have agreed to the Fireworks Bill, with Amendments; to which they desire the concurrence of this House.
2Opposition Day [15th allotted day],--It being an allotted day at the disposal of the Leader of the Opposition in pursuance of Standing Order No. 14 (Arrangement of public business), the House proceeded to consider opposition business.
 
        The Economy,--A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes that the last Government left a golden economic legacy of low inflation, steady and sustainable growth and falling unemployment; that, since the General Election, there have been 17 tax rises and 6 increases in interest rates, leaving the typical family £1,000 a year worse off; that the economy is becoming dangerously unbalanced, with manufacturing in recession, the claimant count rising and the savings ratio falling to its lowest level since 1990 as a result of the Government's attack on pensions and savings; further notes that, at the same time, inflation has risen to its highest level for six years and believes that the Chancellor's decision to abandon control of public spending and to reverse his plans to repay national debt risks adding further inflationary pressure; concludes that the Government has created boom and bust at the same time; and deplores the Government's mishandling of the economy--(Mr Francis Maude);
 
        An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 2, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'notes that the Government inherited an economy in which the current Budget was in deficit by £21 billion, inflation was set to rise because of the failure of the previous Government to take the necessary action on interest rates and nearly one in five households of working age had nobody working; recalls that the previous Government presided over a boom and bust economy with interest rates peaking at 15 per cent. and the two worst recessions since the war, doubled the national debt in the 1990s, doubled unemployment during its time in office, worsened inequality and failed to tackle the weaknesses in the British economy; commends the actions of the Government in its first year, which has established a credible framework for monetary policy that has led to the lowest long-term interest rates in 33 years, set two clear fiscal rules which provide for both prudent public finance and strong public services in the years ahead, taken action to reduce government borrowing such that the current Budget was in surplus by £1 billion in 1997-98, supported British business through cuts in corporation tax and small business tax to their lowest levels ever, launched the New Deal, the biggest employment programme for decades, reformed the tax and benefit system to tackle the unemployment and poverty traps and invested in education and skills; and notes that Britain now has a government which will ensure that the country does not return to the boom and bust and 15 per cent. interest rates of the late 1980s and early 1990s and instead has an economic policy based on stability, enterprise, employment and fairness', instead thereof.--(Mr Alistair Darling);
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John M. Taylor, Mr Tim Collins: 139.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr Jon Owen Jones, Jane Kennedy: 310.
 
        So the Question was negatived.
 
        And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments):--It was agreed to.
 
        The Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House notes that the Government inherited an economy in which the current Budget was in deficit by £21 billion, inflation was set to rise because of the failure of the previous Government to take the necessary action on interest rates and nearly one in five households of working age had nobody working; recalls that the previous Government presided over a boom and bust economy with interest rates peaking at 15 per cent. and the two worst recessions since the war, doubled the national debt in the 1990s, doubled unemployment during its time in office, worsened inequality and failed to tackle the weaknesses in the British economy; commends the actions of the Government in its first year, which has established a credible framework for monetary policy that has led to the lowest long-term interest rates in 33 years, set two clear fiscal rules which provide for both prudent public finance and strong public services in the years ahead, taken action to reduce government borrowing such that the current Budget was in surplus by £1 billion in 1997-98, supported British business through cuts in corporation tax and small business tax to their lowest levels ever, launched the New Deal, the biggest employment programme for decades, reformed the tax and benefit system to tackle the unemployment and poverty traps and invested in education and skills; and notes that Britain now has a government which will ensure that the country does not return to the boom and bust and 15 per cent. interest rates of the late 1980s and early 1990s and instead has an economic policy based on stability, enterprise, employment and fairness.
 
        Class Sizes,--A Motion was made, and the Question being proposed, That this House notes that primary class sizes have increased since the Government came to power, and that almost half a million pupils at Key Stage 1 are now in classes of 31 or more; condemns the Government's failure to deliver its early pledge to reduce infant class sizes; believes that while reducing class sizes is a desirable objective, this should not be done at the expense of parental choice or by creating more mixed-age classes; and condemns the Government's inability to implement its pledge in a way consistent with raising educational standards--(Mr David Willetts);
 
        An Amendment was proposed to the Question, in line 1, to leave out from the word 'House' to the end of the Question and add the words 'congratulates the Government on the excellent progress it has already made towards honouring its pledge that no child of 5, 6 or 7 will be in a class of over 30 by the end of this Parliament, which will mean that 100,000 fewer infants will be in large classes from this September and the pledge will be met ahead of schedule by September 2001; and notes the Opposition's continuing hostility to class size reduction, having presided over year-on-year increases since 1988', instead thereof.--(Mr Stephen Byers.)
 
        And the Question being put, That the original words stand part of the Question;
 
        The House divided.
 
          Tellers for the Ayes, Mr John M. Taylor, Mr Tim Collins: 134.
 
          Tellers for the Noes, Mr John McFall, Mr Clive Betts: 297.
 
        So the Question was negatived.
 
        And the Question, That the proposed words be there added, being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments):--It was agreed to.
 
        The Speaker forthwith declared the Main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.
 
        Resolved, That this House congratulates the Government on the excellent progress it has already made towards honouring its pledge that no child of 5, 6 or 7 will be in a class of over 30 by the end of this Parliament, which will mean that 100,000 fewer infants will be in large classes from this September and the pledge will be met ahead of schedule by September 2001; and notes the Opposition's continuing hostility to class size reduction, having presided over year-on-year increases since 1988.
3Animals,--A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Welfare of Livestock (Amendment) Regulations 1998, which were laid before this House on 21st May, be approved--(Janet Anderson):--It was agreed to.
4Northern Ireland,--A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Producer Responsibility Obligations (Northern Ireland) Order 1998, which was laid before this House on 1st June, be approved--(Janet Anderson):--It was agreed to.
5Value Added Tax,--A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the Value Added Tax (Reduced Rate) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1375), dated 3rd June 1998, which was laid before this House on 3rd June, be approved--(Janet Anderson):--It was agreed to.
6Social Security,--A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Child Benefit and Social Security (Fixing and Adjustment of Rates) (Amendment) Regulations 1998, which were laid before this House on 8th June, be approved--(Janet Anderson):--It was agreed to.
7Public Health,--A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 Statutory Sum Order 1998, which was laid before this House on 8th June, be approved--(Janet Anderson):--It was agreed to.
8Civil Aviation,--A Motion was made, and the Question being put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118 (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation), That the draft Air Carrier Liability Order 1998, which was laid before this House on 23rd June, be approved--(Janet Anderson):--It was agreed to.
9Adjournment,--Resolved, That this House do now adjourn--(Janet Anderson.)
 
        And accordingly the House, having continued to sit till sixteen minutes to Eleven o'clock, adjourned till to-morrow.
[Adjourned at 10.44 p.m.
Betty Boothroyd
Speaker        

Madam Speaker will take the Chair at half-past Two o'clock.

APPENDIX I
Papers delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on Friday 26th June 1998 (Non-sitting Friday, S.O. No. 12) pursuant to Standing Order No. 158 (Presentation of command papers):
1Hong Kong (No. 3, 1998),--Agreement, done at Hong Kong on 25th July 1997, between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China concerning Air Services, with an Explanatory Memorandum [Cm. 3996] [Mr Secretary Cook].
2Miscellaneous (No. 5, 1998),--Terms of Reference of the International Copper Study Group, done at New York on 24th February 1989, with an Explanatory Memorandum [Cm. 3993] [Mr Secretary Cook].
3Treaty Series (No. 25, 1998),--Agreement, done at Kampala on 10th December 1993, between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Uganda concerning Air Services [Cm. 3985] [Mr Secretary Cook].
Papers delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on Friday 26th June 1998 (Non-sitting Friday, S.O. No. 12) pursuant to Standing Order No. 159 (Presentation of statutory instruments):
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
4Dentists,--Dentists Act 1984 (Amendment) Order 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1546), dated 23rd June 1998 [Mr Secretary Dobson].
Papers presented or laid upon the Table on Monday 29th June 1998:
Papers subject to Affirmative Resolution:
5Deregulation,--Draft Deregulation (Exchangeable Driving Licences) Order 1998, together with a statement by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
Papers subject to Negative Resolution:
6Education,--Education (School Performance Targets) (England) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1575), dated 29th June 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].
7Medical Profession,--Human Organ Transplants (Establishment of Relationship) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1428), dated 8th June [by Act] [Mr Secretary Dobson].
8Merchant Shipping,--Merchant Shipping (International Safety Management (ISM) Code) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1561), dated 24th June 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Prescott].
9Prisons,--Prison (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1544), dated 20th June 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Straw].
10Telegraphs,--Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1567), dated 28th June 1998 [by Act] [Secretary Margaret Beckett].
11Young Offender Institutions,--Young Offender Institution (Amendment) Rules 1998 (S.I., 1998, No. 1545), dated 20th June 1998 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Straw].
Other Papers:
12Broadcasting,--Report, Financial Statements and Annual Review of the Broadcasting Standards Commission for 1997-98, with the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon [by Act] [Mr Secretary Smith].
13Courts and Legal Services,--Report of the Legal Services Ombudsman for 1997 [by Act]; to be printed [No. 793] [Mr Geoffrey Hoon].
14Fair Trading,--Report of the Director General of Fair Trading: Office of Fair Trading for 1997 [by Act]; to be printed [No. 762] [Secretary Margaret Beckett].
15Industrial Training,--Report and Accounts of the Construction Industry Training Board for 1997 [by Act] [Mr Secretary Blunkett].
16Police,--Report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for 1997-98 [by Command] [Mr Secretary Straw].
17Telecommunications,--Amendments to the Convention and the Operating Agreement relating to the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (Inmarsat) [by Command] [Cm. 3995] [Secretary Margaret Beckett].
APPENDIX II
Standing Committees
Draft Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1998,--The Committee of Selection has discharged from the Tenth Standing Committee Mr Alan Williams (nominated in respect of the draft Order); and nominated in substitution Mr Alan Simpson.



 
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